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The Republic of Seychelles, is a 115-island country spanning an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar.

History

Historians assume that Austronesian seafarers and later Maldivian and Arab traders were the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles. Remains of Maldivian mariner presence from the 12th century were found in Silhouette Island. The earliest recorded sighting by Europeans took place in 1502 by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama, who passed through the Amirantes  and named them after himself (islands of the Admiral).

A transit point for trade between Africa and Asia, the islands were occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XVs Minister of Finance.

The British contested control over the islands between 1794 and 1810. Jean Baptiste Quéau de Quincy, French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality.

Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. Elections were held in 1966 and 1970. Independence was granted in 1976 as a republic within the Commonwealth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To give you a better idea where the island group is, nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Angaléga and Réunion to the south, and Comores and Mayotte to the southwest.

There are 42 granitic island, in descending order of size: Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette Island, La Digue, Curieuse, Felicite, Frégate, Ste-Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sœur, Thérèse, Aride, Conception, Petite Sœur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Récif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Île aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (Île Sèche), Cachée, Cocos, Round (Mahé), L'Ilot Frégate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mahé), Chauve Souris (Praslin), Île La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zavé, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).

There are two coral islands south of the granitics: Coëtivy and Platte. There are also 29 coral islands in the Amirantes Group, west of the granitics. There are 13 coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-southwest of the Amirantes. And finally 67 raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group. Climate change and the rising sea level could be the end of this island nation.

The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small, classified as tropical rain forest. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C (75 to 86 °F), and rainfall ranges from 2,900 mm (114 in) annually at Victoria to 3,600 mm (142 in) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands. During the coolest months, July and August, the average low is about 24 °C (75 °F). The southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher humidity (80%). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom exceeds 31 °C (88 °F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.

Fauna and flora

Famous to the islands is the Black Parrot, the national bird of the country and protected bird. The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the Coco de Mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the "love nut" because of the shape of its fruit which, with the husk removed, presents a "double" coconut resembling buttocks, the coco-de-mer produces the world's heaviest seed pods. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahé. This strange and ancient plant in a genus of its own (Medusagynaceae) has resisted all efforts to propagate it. Other unique plant species include the Wright's Gardenia Rothmannia annae found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.The freshwater crab genus is endemic to the granitic Seychelles, and a further 26 species of crabs and 5 species of hermit crabs live on the islands.

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise now populates many of the islands of the Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. It has been reported that the granitic islands of Seychelles supported distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises; the status of the different populations is currently unclear.

There are several unique varieties of orchids on the islands.

Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. In the outer islands Aldabra and Cosmoledo are home to the largest numbers. In granitic Seychelles the largest numbers are on Aride Island including the world's largest numbers of two species.

The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded. Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has unfortunately damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery (e.g., Silhouette Island).

The main natural resources of the Seychelles are fish, copra, cinnamon, coconuts, salt and iron.

Best time to travel to Seychelles

The Seychelles has a tropical climate: warm and humid with strong maritime influences. The temperature is consistently 24-32°C, there is no distinct dry season and there is some humidity at all times.
Many of the granitic Inner Islands have dramatic terrain; Mahé boasting hills rising to 900m. The rainfall increases with altitude, though it is the trade winds that really dictate the islands' climate and name its seasons.

From May to October the south-east trade winds (Southeast Monsoon) bring a relatively dry period. Reaching its peak in July/August, there is little precipitation and temperatures average 27°C, though seas can be a little choppy.

By November (pre-Northwest Monsoon), the winds start to change, bringing light, warmer winds and the start of the main rainy season. During December to March (Northwest Monsoon), Seychelles gets extremely wet, especially in December and January, though the vegetation is lush, the winds generally light and the sun at its warmest. This is also the cyclone season, though only the most remote southern islands are within the cyclone belt.

This period is followed by the calmest, warmest month, April (Pre-Southeast Monsoon), as the winds die down and start to change direction.

The currency used on the islands is the Seychelles Roepies (SCR).

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